Reading is my oldest and favorite hobby. I literally can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love to curl up with a good book. Here are my reads for March, 2012…
Loving, by Henry Green – I plucked this book off a list of “things to read if you are addicted to Downton Abbey,” but I’m sorry to say I was disappointed. A story of the interactions between servants and the family living in an Irish castle during World War II seemed like a perfect choice for me, and it was very well written, but I just felt like I was forcing it the entire time. I can’t put my finger on exactly what rubbed me the wrong way. Sometimes I thought maybe there was too much dialogue, which seems strange, because I like books with lots of dialogue. I suppose I’ll be vague and just say that while I admired the writing, I didn’t like the atmosphere that I felt in the book. I just couldn’t get into this one and it was a slog all the way to the finish, sadly.
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle – A re-read of one of my favorite books was just what the doctor ordered after the previous disappointment. I first read A Wrinkle in Time when I was nine, and I’ve read it countless times since and loved it more every time. I picked up a copy of the recently released 50th anniversary edition from Kramerbooks, and loved it as much as I ever have. The tale of Meg and Charles Wallace Murray and their friend Calvin O’Keefe’s miraculous journey through space and time to rescue Meg and Charles’ father from the forces of evil on a distant planet was enthralling when I was younger, but has so many more layers of meaning now that I’m an adult. Love it forever.
Elizabeth I, by Margaret George – I had never read any Margaret George before, because for some reason I thought she would be fluffy, and I just don’t like fluffy historical fiction that much. But after reading great reviews of this one, I checked it out, and it BLEW. MY. MIND. So well researched and written, meticulously detailed, yet still compulsively readable. I will now be reading everything Margaret George has ever written. Fully reviewed here.
Pardonable Lies, by Jacqueline Winspear (Maisie Dobbs #3) – The more I read of the Maisie Dobbs series, the more I like it. In this installment, our intrepid heroine is hired to confirm the death of an aviator lost during World War I. As Maisie digs deeper into her quarry’s history, she discovers that he had a connection to the still-missing, presumed-dead brother of her college friend Priscilla, and that all may not be as it seems with either of their deaths. Maisie relentlessly and doggedly pursues the truth about both men’s fates, even as it seems that someone would rather she die than find out what really happened. This series is just such fun! I can’t stop cheering Maisie on as she tracks down answers for her clients and continues to confront her own wartime demons.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain – I really enjoyed this thoughtful, well-researched look into the introvert psyche. As an introvert myself, I appreciated both the encouragement and the advice that Cain generously doled out, about how to harness your own special skills in the workplace and the social arena. And I also loved her chapter on how to love an introvert, since my hubby is one as well and just being an introvert myself doesn’t make him less mysterious to me at times. Fully reviewed here.
The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey – This debut was gorgeously written. Jack and Mabel, a childless couple, move to Alaska to start a new life together. One night they build a little girl out of snow. The next day, the little snow girl is gone, but a real little girl is running around the woods near their cabin. As Jack and Mabel begin to get to know Faina, the “snow child” they believe they created, they love her as a daughter. But at the same time, they are haunted by the sad ending of a Russian fairy tale that bears striking similarities to Faina’s story, and they start to fear losing her. Fully reviewed here.
March was a bit of a slow month for me. One novella, one re-read, and a mystery made up half of my book total for the month. I had some out of town visitors over three weekends, and I’ve been fighting off exhaustion for the entire month, which has cut into my reading time dramatically. Lately my eyelids have been drooping by 8:00 p.m., and my weekends – when I’m not entertaining – invariably involve naps. Still, I did manage to chew through Elizabeth I, which was almost 700 pages – I’m pretty proud of that. Here’s hoping for some more energy in April.